Should pension funds be lending direct to borrowers?

Held Thursday, April 5, 2018, 12.30-2.15pm.


  • Floris Hovingh (Deloitte)

  • Nick Smith (Alternative Credit Council)

  • Gregg Disdale (Willis Towers Watson)



As the name suggests, "private" or "direct" lending is less transparent to outside observers than the public markets. That said, it is also an increasingly popular asset class. Industry figures claim there is something like $400bn invested worldwide and a further $200bn or so of “dry powder” (committed capital waiting to find a home) and the amount that pension funds are willing to allocate to direct lending has been growing strongly each year.

In principle, that’s no bad thing – with yields hard to find and long-term liabilities to fund, trustees need to be imaginative in finding assets to match their commitments. Borrowers too small for the public markets can always benefit from more competition between lenders. And while peer-to-peer platforms and other innovations have made modest impacts in matching investors with borrowers, direct lending seems to be able to deploy capital on an industrial scale.

But do investors know what they are doing? Or should we be worried about a boom in a (relatively) untested asset class? Joining us to discuss the growth of the market, and any potential pitfalls to be wary of, we are delighted to welcome:

  • Floris Hovingh, partner and head of alternative capital solutions at Deloitte, and author of Deloitte’s Alternative Lender Deal Tracker series;
  • Nick Smith, associate director at the Alternative Credit Council (the Alternative Investment Management Association’s private credit affiliate); and
  • Gregg Disdale, head of alternative credit at Willis Towers Watson and a member of Willis Towers Watson’s private markets portfolio management group.

If you (or a colleague) would like to join us for what I am sure will be a lively discussion, please let us know by emailing or phoning the Centre (0207 621 1056). As usual, there will be coffee, tea and buns.

Sincerely yours,

Andrew Hilton